New Brunswick government launches daycare survey
Parents urged to fill out online survey about child care and how it can be improved
The New Brunswick government has launched a series of online surveys about child care as part of an examination of the state of child care in the province.
The survey questions ask parents about their needs regarding access to child care, including things such as work schedules, cost and proximity of spaces to their homes.
"We know there are some gaps in services, for example for infants, that … makes it more difficult for parents to return to the work force after maternity leave," said Nicole Gervais, the executive director for early childhood development for the province.
The survey also asks if an online child care registry would be useful. The general public, child care operators and early childhood educators are also targeted by the survey.
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The surveys can be found online through the government's child care task force.
During the 2014 provincial election campaign, the Liberal party declared its intention to spend more than $15 million on new daycare subsidies for low and lower middle income families.
However, Education Minister Serge Rousselle backed away from that promise in May. Rouselle said new funding for the daycare subsidy would not be available this year, and possibly not next year, either.
"We do have this commitment and I can assure you that we intend to respect it in the upcoming years," said Rousselle.
It ignited a firestorm of protest earlier this year, when it cut 1.9 million dollars in funding from about 260 owner/operators of for-profit daycares and gave it to new workers instead.
The funding was part of the Quality Improvement Funding Support program which was created to increase the availability and quality of child daycare services in the province by boosting salaries of the people who work in the industry on a scale based on their level of training.
In the meantime, the government established a task force to examine the child care sector.
Gervais says there are approximately 96,000 children 12 years old or younger in the province, so she is hoping to hear from a large number of parents.
A similar survey was conducted in 2007. Gervais says things have changed since then, such as the mandated curriculum for daycares that offer services to children five years old and younger.
The province is now also posting daycare inspection reports online.
Gervais says government is committed to helping to make child care more affordable.
"That's one of the things we want to hear from parents, how can we make it more affordable?"
The surveys close on Nov. 2. Gervais says the government expects to have a report on from the task force sometime during the winter.
- An earlier version of this story indicated $1.9 million was cut from the quality improvements fund. The money was reallocated.Oct 23, 2015 1:13 PM AT